I think that this is a blueprint that conservatives should regard favorably, all things considered. But let's be clear: The cuts it proposes don't even remotely "slash the size of government"; they merely slow its future growth. By my back-of-the-envelope calculations, federal revenue has hovered around 18.3 percent of G.D.P. since 1980, breaking 20 percent only during the halcyon days of the dot-com boom. Under Simpson-Bowles, it would stick at 21 percent, a solid 10-15 percent boost over how the American government taxed its citizens in the Reagan and Clinton eras.
I finally found someone else sort-of-happy with the Erskine-Bowels report.
The sad fact is that for all the high-minded blathering about the size of government and its overreach, the right has demonstrated that people want big government most when they can effectively get other people to pay for it.
Frankly, you are not going to cut spending without raising taxes. Unless there is some connection between the cost of government and the services it provides, you are not going to have any consensus to decrease the demand for government services. This is just basic behavioral economics.comments powered by Disqus